February 26, 2017

Challenging Ways of Knowing - In English, Maths and Science by Dave Baker, John Clay, Carol Fox (Editors)

By Dave Baker, John Clay, Carol Fox (Editors)

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Extra info for Challenging Ways of Knowing - In English, Maths and Science

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Mathematics is a case in point but by no means the worst. Computer science and physics provide examples of two further gendered disciplines, as do the languages, for example, English. Information on ‘race’ is harder to come by but, at the anecdotal level, colleagues in universities across the developed world confirm the ‘white’ status of their institutional communities at both student and staff levels. So, it would appear that we have a correlation between mathematics viewed as an objective science, transmission pedagogy, test-based assessment and widespread mathematical failure.

Modelling, both mentally and physically, is seldom given any conscious attention in the current curriculum. Yet it has always been a powerful African symbolic, expressive form. And in science it is a dominant means by which scientific findings are rendered and made explicit. Young African children improvise ingenious model toy cars from scraps of wire and bottle tops. The notion of modelling is not alien. The idea that a model can also be a tool to help conceptualize something scientific is under-exploited in our primary schools.

Achievement at mathematics has become closely linked to power so, for example, mathematics departments in the universities of the developed world are predominantly staffed by white men. In many developed countries identifiable shifts in female performance have led to women comprising almost 50 per cent of university entrants. However, such shifts break down when entry to particular disciplines is examined. Mathematics is a case in point but by no means the worst. Computer science and physics provide examples of two further gendered disciplines, as do the languages, for example, English.

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